Workshop Prep

Class Packs & Love Letters

Putting together a packet to send to people who are taking zoom classes with me is much like sending out love letters. I consider each item I enclose, carefully collect them together, imagining how the receiver will feel when they arrive.

For about two week now, nearly every day I’ve said to myself that this is the day that I will finish up the planning the papers for my next set of classes,

I also thought I would quickly decide what to use, as I’ve taught many of these pleated and diagonally folded structures in the past. I should know by now that dashing off decisions isn’t something I tend to do.

My planning page of notes is full of question marks, cross-offs, arrows, checks, underlining, measurements, circles, and 5 different colors of writing, to distinguish different thoughts. I will choose a paper for a particular technique , then I will remember how it went last time I taught it, how one or two people had a hard time, and what could change up to make things more clear? I’ve experienced, more times than I could count, how a small shift in how I demonstrate something can have a huge effect on outcome. Sometimes that means preparing materials differently.

Turns out there are just a few of items that stay the same this time around.

Sometimes the paper I send out has been stored in my workshop for a long time. I have these papers because I like them so much. They’ve been protected in the precious bit of storage space that I have for such things. I will not be able to replace many of them because they are no longer being made, have risen in price dramatically, or I just don’t know how to identify them. I used to hate parting with these papers, and it does feel a bit bittersweet to send them off into the world, but, as I’m getting older I ‘m thinking that I don’t want to get buried beneath what I could not let go of.

When all the decisions are made, and I am ready to lay everything out, all the papers and all the sizes get written down in a ledger that I keep in my workspace. The ledger is 100 pages long. I am sad to see that I am now on page 97.

Here are some things I keep in mind. First is that I may sell very few of the packs: I am clear about wanting people to source their own materials if they want to. More and more, I don’t require specific papers to be used in my zoom classes, I will recommendations to materials that are widely available. For me, putting the pack together isn’t about selling them as much as it about making sure I have completely planned out the classes I will be teaching.

The next thing I think about is why people find value is buying the packs. Sometimes my packs are more costly than this $14 one, but even this one, after tax and postage, ends up costing more like $20. I aim for people being thrilled with what they gotten. My goals for packets can differ. For this one, I want people to have the experience of folding with different kinds of paper (Tyvek, Elephant Hide, Stardream, and others) that are not easy to get in small quantities. People don’t need my pack to learn what I will be teaching, but the collections I send out offer options that may be enriching.

(An important detail about including small items: they get overlooked. I now gather anything small and place them together in a large envelope. Today’s packet has some clear plastic in it. I haven’t done anything to keep that from getting lost…maybe I will put some blue tape on it.)

There are other reasons to make packs available, such as convenience. It’s one less thing for people to think about when they’ve made time in their busy lives to take a class. Some people feel unsure of the paper sourcing decisions that they would make. Then there are those who enjoy the connection of getting package in the mail. It’s a connection I’m happy to provide, because it makes me feel good too.

Today I’ve finished assembling this packet. The first four orders are going out, and I’m celebrating!

Registration for this class, afternoon or evening zoom sessions, is open until October 9, 2022


Folding, Teaching, Zooming

Fascinated by Folding: maybe that’s what I should called the next set of classes I’ll be teaching at Center for Book Arts, via zoom, over 4 weeks starting afternoons at the end of April or for 4 weeks in the evenings starting in the beginning of May.

Alas, these classes are called Flat Foldable Pleats, and Edge Release Explorations. I don’t think anyone will even know what that means. I’m hoping that the picture will sell the class,

I’ve been taking this deep dive into pleating and edge-release folds, which is a whole different thing than symmetrical pop-ups, which I also love. After playing with unusual foldings, like miura folds, and examining Paul Jackson’s books for years, I started playing around with the idea of teaching these lesser known structures.

My last couple of submissions to the Bridges Organizations Math Art shows, like the piece above, have reflected my interest these pleated folds.

They are fun, challenging, and always surprising. Some of the folds, like the hexagon bellows there with the compass leaning against it, are a bear to fold.

Duck and Fold

Other folds, like simple one above, in which an edges of the paper are released by cuts from the folds they might have been bound to, create gorgeous architectural effects, which become even more delightful with some thoughtful photography.

In fact, many mornings this past winter I would get up to do early morning folding just so that I could photograph the constructions in the early morning sunlight. It was a satisfying way to start the day, especially during those stressful days from early November until mid January.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that it appears that I’m getting the hang of teaching on zoom. I feel like I’m figuring out how to create the feeling of connection that I like so much about in person teaching. One big discovery for me is that it’s great to ask people to unmute themselves for our whole class. Don’t know why more people don’t do this. This leaves the way open for people to interject comments, ask questions at critical moments, and lets me know if my pace needs to be adjusted.

I’m finding, too, that some people who take workshops have figured out how to adjust their cameras so that I can see them AND their workspace. Seeing people’s work and as well as their expressions as they work is such a pleasure.

A year ago I had no idea that I’d be able to do this kind of teaching from a little production studio in my home that I could not have even imagined being there. The twists and turns of life never cease to surprise me.


Making Something before Looking Forward

Georgia on My Mind, January 5, 2021

The act of making something focuses me in a positive direction Paper folding engages me in just the right way.

Isolated here at home due to pandemic concerns, feeling agitated by the events of the day, it occurs to me that maybe you would like to do a bit of paper folding, too.

To make the monolith above, I start with a template of straight lines that is on page 68 of Paul Jackson’s book Cut and Fold Techniques for Pop-Up Designs.

I sketch out the lines on a piece of paper. The vertical lines are evenly spaced across the paper. A few days ago I folded a model based on Jackson’s lines exactly as they are, which I suggest that you do too.

Cut and Fold lines for Georgia on My Mind

For this day’s fold, I’m taking some liberties with the lines. Adding some curves, redefining the top edge, then doing the folds according to the first drawing. And that’s it.

I added a bit of color to my model, using a highlighter and a yellow circle. Then I carefully photographed it so it would look enormous. It’s four inches high.

Pretty simple for something that is so dimensional.

Full disclosure, I didn’t draw my curvy cut lines, simply made an indication with straight lines about where the cutting should go. That what works for me. Do what ever works for you. Hope you try this out.





Folding Paper while the Sun Rises

I don’t usually get up at 5:30.

A few weeks ago I was wide awake quite early so I went downstairs, did some cleaning, then settled down with a book I often looked at and began folding paper.

Doing something with paper is what I’m always doing. Folding along with Paul Johnson’s books is something I’ve done, but usually just now and then.

I completely enjoy how a few folds and a dramatically lit image can create the illusion of something monumental.

This folding exercise was a sweet alternative to checking the news, something, which, to my dismay, I have been doing too often. I began my day the next day with folding some paper.

The first week I did this I didn’t realize how lucky I was that the sun actually showed itself at sunrise. Letting the early rays create dramatic shadows is just the best.

This early morning folding felt so good that I started looking forward to doing them as I went to sleep each night.

Then, the following week, morning after morning, the sun stayed behind the clouds. Oh, well. I managed to eek out some photos.

All this time I’ve basically been recreating the folds in Jackson’s books. I have a collection of his books, which I’ve been continually browsing through. This is one of the ways that I learn: I copy from someone who knows more than me. Eventually and always. as I acquire skill through copying, I start personalizing what I’ve learned. For instance, on Thanksgiving I wanted to make something to post to my friends that sent out a message of love.

I begun noticing how interesting these forms look when the paper is closed.

In fact all of the foldings I’ve been doing fold flat, They all have a silhouettes that are interesting and seem somewhat unrelating to the opened up version. Turns out that there is a name for paper objects which fold flat. They are said to have “flat-foldability,” which means that they exhibit these characteristics:

(This list below has been copied and pasted from

  1. All crease lines must be straight line segments.
  2. All interior vertices in the crease pattern must be of even degree.
  3. At each interior vertex, the sum of every other angle must be 180◦.
  4. There must exist a superposition ordering function that does not violate the non-crossing

I’m not invested in saying I will make one of these every morning, but, for now, it’s just such pleasant way to start the day that I don’t see myself stopping this early morning foray into folding any time soon. I’m interested in seeing where goes.

In the meantime, there is the rest of the day.

I’ve just finished submitting proposals to The Center For Book Arts to zoom teach with them in the spring. More on that VERY soon.

Also, have making a new paper design for my Hidden Boxes kit that I sell on Etsy.


I’m really happy with these designs. At the moment of this writing this kit has not been put into the Etsy shop just yet. As soon as it is, which will be today sometime, I will add a live link. Addendum: Here’s the link to these papers in my Etsy shop Kit

Oh, and didn’t fold this morning. Just wrote about it.